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Tour d'Argent and Canard au Sang Duck Cuisine

The duck dish called the Canard au Sang, which is also known as bloody duck or pressed duck, is the main speciality of the Tour D'Argent restaurant, and is also one of the reasons why this restaurant has become so famous throughout the world.

It was back in 19th century that the owner of the Tour d'Argent, Frederic Delair, became famous when he created the ritual of the Canard au Sang, which is a very complex dish of duck, when he declared that every duck should bear a number and this ritual still carries on today.

For the dish to be prepared they need specific culinary equipment in the form of a certain type of press and the Tour d'Argent has two of these, both by Christofle in solid silver, and there is always one on display, but as a back up in case the one in use has to be sent back to Christofle for repair.

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Tour d'Argent and Canard au Sang Duck Cuisine

It was only a short while after inventing the recipe that includes cognac and Madeira, the tradition of numbering each duck started and a little card was produced and handed to the recipient of the meal confirming this.

The history of the Tour d'Argent is quite fascinating and there is a visitors book where you can view some of the ducks that have become famous in their own right.  For instance, number 328 was served to King Edward VII in 1890, number 40,312 was served to King Alfonso XIII in 1914, number 53,211 to the Emperor Hiro Hito in 1921, number 112,151 to Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1929, number 667,998 to Thierry Luron and number 938,451 was served to President Mikhail Gorbachev 2001.

By 1990, the tradition of Frederic's numbered duck celebrated its 100th anniversary and by 2003 the Tour d'Argent celebrated its 1 millionth duck and the duck press is positioned in an area of the restaurant itself, rather than in the kitchen out of sight.

This tradition is continuing today and this incredible haute cuisine restaurant in Paris also owns a farm on which it raises all of its own ducks and you still get presented with a card stating the specific serial number of the duck served at your table.

The first part of the duck from the breast is served in slices and covered in a gravy containing the blood and juices from the crushed duckling, and then the next serving, or next course shall we say, is the duck legs that are cooked in a different style.

Now this is not for the feint hearted but how the Canard au Sang is prepared..  First, a young duck is strangled to retain its blood and sent by train to the Tour d'Argent the same day.  The duck is then partially roasted and its legs and breast removed.  The liver is ground and seasoned and the remaining carcass (including other meat, bones, and skin) is then put into the specially designed silver press where pressure is applied to extract the blood and other juices from the carcass.  The juice from the carcass is thickened and flavoured with the duck's liver, butter and Cognac from the wine cellars, and then combined with the breast to finish cooking.  Other ingredients are also added to the sauce such as foie gras, port wine, Madeira, and lemon. The breast is sliced and served with the sauce in a first serving. The legs are broiled while the guests eat the breast and then the legs are served in a different way for the next course.

And although the canard au sang is the famous dish, the Tour d'Argent in Paris also provides other types of duck dishes such as duck with orange sauce or with peppers, etc, plus there are many other tempting meals available if you feel that this traditional duck dish could be a bit much for you to handle!

Address & Contact Details:

La Tour d'Argent
15-17 Quai de la Tournelle

Telephone: 1 43 54 23 31

Tour d'Argent and Canard au Sang

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